Each year in March the Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois runs green between Columbus and Wacker Drive. Nearly 400,000 people enjoy the brightly colored river while listening to bagpipes play in the near distance. What event is so large that it can turn a river green? St. Patrick’s Day! St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that originated in honor of the patron Saint of Ireland: St. Patrick, but it’s a holiday that many countries around the world, including the US, enjoy celebrating today. Although not every city in the US has a St. Patrick’s Day celebration quite like Chicago, every city will have something for you to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the US as an international student.
St. Patrick’s Day is a day to enjoy time with friends, good drinks and delicious dishes like corned beef and cabbage. Although this holiday was originally celebrated by worshiping and spending time with family, today this holiday is celebrated primarily by spending time with friends and watching parades.
Here are a few ways that you’re able to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year:
- Wear Green: Green has become the standard color to wear on St. Patrick’s Day and many will even pinch you if they see you’re not wearing it. The more green, the better!
- Shamrocks: Decorating with or wearing shamrocks (clovers) on St. Patrick’s Day is also a must. Whether it’s a shirt, socks, or a beaded necklace, find something with shamrocks to wear. Why shamrocks? Some say that shamrocks are associated with this holiday because Saint Patrick used shamrocks to explain the trinity. If you’re not into wearing shamrocks, find a patch of grass and start hunting for the real-deal!
- Feast on corned beef and cabbage: Corned beef and cabbage surprisingly started as a tradition by Irish-Americans. Corned beef was more readily available to those in the US who migrated from Ireland than the more traditional bacon joint, but had a similar texture. Today, this dish is a staple in the US on St. Patrick’s Day. Find a good recipe online to try and create the dish yourself, or seek out a local restaurant that can cook it for you.
- Find an Irish pub: When you find one, be prepared for a wait! Everyone in town will also be trying to find an Irish pub to enjoy Irish music and Irish drinks (like Guinness). If possible, try to go early but be prepared for a crowd.
- Attend a local event: As mentioned, many cities have organized events in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Visit your city’s website and see if there are any parades, concerts or likewise celebrations in town. If held by the city, typically these celebrations will be free and are a good way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the US as an international student.
- Travel to celebrate: Want to see the green river in Chicago this year? Book a trip! There are numerous large St. Patrick’s Day celebrations throughout the US, so jump on a plane and join in on the celebration. A few top places to visit include Chicago, Savannah and Boston.
St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17th, how do you plan on celebrating this year?